Rahul Gandhi promises Gig Workers Act in Telangana if voted to power

The Congress leader was seen interacting with auto drivers, gig workers and sanitary workers in Hyderabad today

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (photo: @INCIndia/X)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (photo: @INCIndia/X)

NH Digital

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi promised to enact a law in Telangana for gig workers on the lines of Rajasthan’s Gig Workers Act, 2023, if the party is voted to power in the state in the upcoming Assembly elections.

Gandhi’s announcement came after he interacted with auto drivers, gig workers and sanitary workers in Hyderabad today in the Jubilee Hills constituency, where the party’s candidate is former men’s cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin.

Gandhi also promised ₹12,000 as an annual financial assistance to each auto driver, and spoke of considering a reduction in pending challans by 50 per cent as a one-time relief effort. He also talked of implementing a single-permit policy once the Congress was elected in Telangana.

There are around 4.2 lakh gig workers in Telangana. For them, Gandhi described Rajasthan’s Gig Workers Act, 2023, as a “groundbreaking” law for gig workers' protection. The Act, passed in July 2023, aims to provide gig workers with crucial social security and essential benefits. “Once we get elected in Telangana, we will hold a consultation with you workers and implement a similar act here,” Gandhi told the crowd.

While the Karnataka government has extended an accident and life insurance cover of Rs 4 lakh to gig workers, the Congress government in Rajasthan has given them certain 'rights' such as registration with the state, access to general and specific social security schemes, and an opportunity to be heard for any grievances. The Platform-Based Gig Workers' Welfare Board is also a key part of the Rajasthan law.

Gandhi's announcement comes a couple of days after state minister KT Rama Rao, son of chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, met gig workers in the state as well. While the BRS does not mention gig workers separately in their manifesto at all, the Indian National Congress has promised gig workers fair wages, social security and a welfare board along the lines of the Rajasthan act.

Addressing a rally today, Gandhi said that if the Narendra Modi government is to be defeated in Delhi, it is important to defeat the K Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharatiya Rashtriya Samithi (BRS) in Telangana right now as well.

The Congress leader alleged that the BRS, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) were working together. He pointed out that KCR, as Chandrashekar Rao is popularly known, had supported the Modi government in Parliament.

The Wayanad MP also wondered why central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the income tax department were not behind KCR in the way they seemed to be with many leaders of non-BJP parties.

Gandhi, accompanied by sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other Congress leaders, said that because he himself fights the prime minister, there are now 24 cases that have been filed against him in various states — and the courts summon him regularly. (Indeed, an UP court just this morning issued a fresh summons for Gandhi to appear in a case registered in 2018 regarding his remarks about home minister Amit Shah.)

"First time, for defamation, I got two years' punishment. My Lok Sabha membership was cancelled. My government house was taken away. I said I don't want it. My home is in the hearts of the crores of poor people in the country," Gandhi said, asserting that his fight was ideological and he wouldn’t compromise on it.

The campaigning for the Telangana Assembly elections across 106 constituencies, scheduled for 30 November, has now ended at 5 pm on today, 28 November.

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